Pat Toomey – Republican Candidate for US Senator: As Bad As It Gets: Philadelphia Citypaper

66 Reasons NOT to Vote for Pat Toomey

by Jeffrey C. Billman

Published: October 27, 2010

In any other year, it wouldn’t be working. In any other year, Pat Toomey — former derivatives trader, congressman and president of the anti-tax group Club for Growth — wouldn’t be getting away with it. In any other year, his long-standing efforts to privatize Social Security, his radical approach to taxes and spending, his courting of fringe politicians, the millions of dollars he spent purging moderates from the Republican Party, his unabashed corporatism and his voting record — which is, statistically speaking, to the right of the late Jesse Helms — would render him unelectable in a state like Pennsylvania.

Last year, in fact, many Republicans thought that the case. In April 2009, William Parker, founder of the Pennsylvania Club for Growth, begged him to bow out of his challenge to Sen. Arlen Specter: “Pat can’t win the general election,” he wrote in a letter to Republicans. But Toomey pressed on, and not long after Parker wrote that letter, Specter switched parties. Without a serious primary challenge, Toomey was free to reinvent himself: No longer was he a rigid ideologue; instead, he morphed into a “mainstream,” “center-right” businessman who simply wants more jobs and less government.

That this rebranding might succeed is a testament to the times in which we live: 2010 is, after all, the year of the Tea Party, of Christine O’Donnell, of Sharron Angle, of Rand Paul. The year in which Glenn Beck’s paranoia can draw tens of thousands to the National Mall, and revanchist politicians speak openly of repealing the sacraments of the New Deal. This is the year in which anxiety over the economy has poisoned our relationship with rationality.

In so many words, this year was made for Pat Toomey: In light of his compatriots’ more bizarre tendencies — O’Donnell’s witchcraft-dabbling; Paul’s tenuous approval of the Civil Rights Act; Angle’s “Second Amendment remedies” for legislation she doesn’t like — the amiable Toomey doesn’t look so crazy. As David Bossie, president of the right-wing Citizens United, told the website The Daily Beast earlier this month, “When Pat Toomey is a guy who’s considered pretty mainstream in that crew [of Tea Party candidates], that’s an amazing statement because he’s a phenomenal conservative leader. When we have this entire conversation and don’t even mention him, that’s unbelievable.”

Unbelievable, indeed. But given this current environment, Democrats have been unable to saddle Toomey with the descriptor that truly fits: extremist.

But he is. Quantifiably, empirically, definitionally, undeniably so.

No matter who you are (assuming you’re not a Wall Street tycoon) or what you believe (assuming you don’t have a “Palin 2012” sign on your front porch), the prospect of a Senator Toomey should frighten you: If you’re concerned with balanced budgets or Social Security; if you believe multinational corporations shouldn’t have carte blanche to do as they please; if you care a whit about the environment or civil liberties; even if you’re a Republican who doesn’t want to see your party co-opted by reactionaries — then Pat Toomey isn’t your guy.

Below, you’ll find 66 reasons not to vote for him — though we could have listed many, many more — drawn from Toomey’s voting records, news accounts and press releases of his campaigns and four-year Club for Growth presidency, and his book, 2009’s The Road to Prosperity. When you’re done reading, think about whether this is the kind of person you want representing you in the U.S. Senate. (Spoiler alert: Probably not.)


1 In the late 1980s and early ’90s, Toomey helped pioneer and made his fortune on interest rate- and currency-related derivative swaps — essentially, bets on whether interest rates and currencies went up or down. Toomey has claimed that these products were non-risky and completely unlike the mortgage-backed derivatives that wreaked havoc on the global economy. According to Michael Greenberger, a professor at the University of Maryland and former Commodity Futures Trading Commission official: “That’s not true. It just so happens that the 2008 meltdown involved credit default swaps, but interest rate swaps and currency swaps can be as risky as anything else. These swaps are very, very risky.” (Mother Jones, Oct. 5, 2010.)

2 After Toomey was elected to Congress in 1999, Derivatives Strategy, a trade magazine, proclaimed, “Now the derivatives industry can claim representation by one of its own.” Upon his election, Toomey “parlayed his trading experience into a spot on the House banking committee, where he crusaded against regulation of financial markets — especially derivatives.” As a Congressional freshman, Toomey said, “I would like to see us continue to deregulate on many fronts, including the financial services industry.” (Derivatives Strategy, May 1999; Mother Jones, Oct. 5, 2010.)

3 Toomey believes that corporations can be trusted to look out for the public good without government regulation: “[W]hen left alone, markets will allocate resources and facilitate the exchanges needed to elevate the general level of prosperity.” (The Road to Prosperity, p. 12.)

4 According to Toomey, “American corporate income taxes are far too high.” He told CNBC in 2007, “Let’s not tax corporations. I think the solution is to eliminate corporate taxes altogether.” (The Road to Prosperity, p. 58; Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, Sept. 15, 2010.)

5 Toomey defended the executives at bailed-out banks who awarded themselves million-dollar bonuses, arguing in a letter posted on Facebook last year that it was “horrible” to tax these bonuses. The 90 percent tax on these bonuses passed the House 328-93. (Letter by Toomey posted on Facebook, March 21, 2009; Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Dec. 8, 2009. National Journal Almanac 2009.)

6 Toomey supports Steve Forbes’ 17 percent flat tax plan, which would eliminate the progressive tax system and dramatically cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans, as well as eliminate inheritance, capital gains and dividend taxes — again, overwhelmingly benefiting the rich. (The Road to Prosperity, p. 71; The New Yorker, Sept. 6, 2004.)

7 Earlier this month, Toomey opposed House legislation — which passed 348-79 — to sanction China and other countries that manipulate currencies to gain trade advantages. China’s intentionally devalued currency makes Chinese goods cheaper to buy and contributes to the trade imbalance that, according to the Economic Policy Institute, cost America 2.4 million jobs between 2001 and 2008. The bill’s opponents included Wall Street banks and multinationals with large Chinese productions plants. (Associated Press, Oct. 7, 2010; The New York Times, Sept. 28, 2010; Economic Policy Institute, March 23, 2010.)


8 Although the rich have gotten richer over the last three decades while others have stagnated, Toomey doesn’t think it’s a problem: “It is true that the differences in income between top earners and the lowest earners have widened in recent decades. But the importance of this statistic has been wildly exaggerated.” (The Road to Prosperity, p. 63.)

9 Toomey opposes “excessively high minimum wages.” In 2007, the Club for Growth called the federal minimum wage a “market-distorting price control on labor,” and opposed its increase from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour. In 2000, Toomey voted against raising the minimum wage $1 an hour, to $6.15. (The Road to Prosperity, p. 12;, July 15, 2009; Club for Growth 2007 Congressional Scorecard; Americans for Democratic Action 2000 Scorecard.)

10 Toomey supports allowing health insurance companies to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions — or anything else — because regulations “drive up the cost of [health] insurance.” (The Road to Prosperity, p. 11.)

11 In 1999, Toomey voted against “Patients’ Bill of Rights” legislation that would require insurance companies to cover emergency care, and allow people and their estates to sue insurance companies that wrongly denied coverage. This legislation passed a GOP-controlled House 275-151. (Americans for Democratic Action 1999 Scorecard.)

12 In 2007 and 2008, Toomey and Club for Growth vehemently argued against the reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which guarantees health coverage for low-income children not eligible for Medicaid. In 2008, the Club ran $200,000 in advertising targeting Republican New Mexico Rep. Heather Wilson, who supported SCHIP legislation, because the proposal would “increase government spending by $35 billion, and massively expand government-run health care.” After President George W. Bush twice vetoed the SCHIP expansion, President Barack Obama signed it into law in 2009. The program’s costs are offset by $32 billion in tobacco taxes; the program insures nearly 8 million children. (Club for Growth press release, May 9, 2008; The New York Times, Feb. 4, 2009; CHIP Statistical Enrollment Data System, Feb. 1, 2010.)

13 Toomey opposed a bill that would ban housing insurance companies from “redlining,” or denying policies in certain (usually minority) neighborhoods. (Americans for Democratic Action 1999 Scorecard.)

14 Toomey opposed legislation that would block credit card companies from raising rates arbitrarily, because, he said, it “is a fundamental infringement on the free market reality.” (House Financial Services Committee Hearing, July 24, 2003.)

15 Toomey opposed a law passed this summer that sent $26 billion in emergency aid to states coping with the recession, including $600 million to Pennsylvania. Without that money, Pennsylvania would have had to lay off 12,000 state workers. A Toomey spokeswoman blamed the states’ “spending binge” for their financial troubles. (, Aug. 4, 2010.)

16 Toomey opposed a bill to make eligible for food stamps recently arrived immigrant children, the disabled, refugees and legal permanent residents who had lived in the U.S. for five years or had worked here for four years. (Americans for Democratic Action 2002 Scorecard.)

17 Toomey opposed a bill that would extend overtime protections to certain low-income workers, and forbid any government regulations that would strip workers of their overtime rights. (Americans for Democratic Action 2004 Scorecard.)

18 In 2003, Toomey, who voted for the war in Iraq, voted against awarding the troops serving there a $1,500 bonus; during this year’s campaign, Toomey said he did so because of other spending in that legislation. He called the bonuses “an excuse to undermine the fiscal stability of this country.” In any event, Toomey has a mere 25 percent rating from the group Disabled American Veterans. (, June 29, 2010.)

19 On MSNBC in April, Toomey agreed with the statement, “It was right for the steel industry in Pennsylvania to go away,” primarily due to outsourcing. “There was a rationalization that had to occur,” he explained. (Morning Joe, MSNBC, April 1, 2010.)


20 Though Toomey now claims to be a deficit hawk, in 2006, when the deficit was hovering around $300 billion a year, he told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, “I don’t think the deficits are the biggest problem right now.” In 2007, as Club for Growth president, he testified in a House budget hearing against pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules that force Congress to offset revenue lost to tax cuts or new spending: “While PAYGO is a well-intentioned rule, its implementation should not come at the cost of preventing economy-stimulating tax cuts.” (Hardball, MSNBC, July 10, 2006; Statement of Pat Toomey to the House Budget Committee, July 25, 2007.)

21 Although Toomey’s proposal to allow younger workers to divert their payroll taxes into private accounts would force the government to borrow billions to pay its existing liabilities, Toomey isn’t concerned: According to the Scranton Times-Tribune, “Mr. Toomey said massive new borrowing will be required anyway to keep current benefits the same once the trust fund is exhausted.” The Social Security trust fund will be solvent until 2037 even if no other action is taken. (Scranton Times-Tribune, Oct. 8, 2010; Social Security Administration.)

22 Toomey claims that he stood up to the Bush administration’s spending while in Congress. While Toomey did vote for less spendthrift alternative budgets, he also ultimately supported all of President Bush’s budgets, which took the government’s $236 billion surplus in 2000 and turned it into a deficit of $318 billion by 2005, the year Toomey left Congress. (Associated Press, Sept. 28, 2010; Office of Management of Budget;


23 Toomey has been the beneficiary of third-party groups that, after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, can spend unlimited amounts of money on advertising against Democratic opponent Joe Sestak without disclosing where their money comes from. In August, Karl Rove’s Crossroads Grassroots Policies Strategies launched a $531,005 ad campaign against Sestak. In August and September, Toomey’s former group, Club for Growth, purchased nearly $800,000 in anti-Sestak ads. The Chamber of Commerce has also targeted Sestak as part of its $75 million blitz against Democrats nationally. The website ThinkProgress reported earlier this month that the Chamber may be funding this campaign, in part, from foreign sources; the Chamber has denied these claims. (, Aug. 25, 2010; Club for Growth press release, Sept. 16, 2010;, Sept. 22, 2010;, Oct. 12, 2010;, Oct. 5, 2010;, Oct. 5, 2010.)

24 This summer, Toomey opposed the DISCLOSE Act, which would have required groups and corporations financing campaign ads to disclose their funding sources, and banned bailout recipients, foreign corporations and large government contractors from financing independent political ad campaigns. Toomey opposed the bill because he thought it was too lenient on unions. In fact, the bill would have forced unions to disclose their funding sources, as would nonprofits, advocacy groups, corporations and trade associations. (The Allentown Morning Call, July 28, 2010;, April 29, 2010;, Sept. 23, 2010; The Washington Post, June 15, 2010.)

25 Toomey supports the Citizens United decision, which, according to polling, 80 percent of the American public opposes: “I’ve advocated for a long time that the best way to approach campaign finance is to allow unlimited contributions and require immediate disclosure.” (, Oct. 14, 2010;, Feb. 17, 2009.)

26 As recently as 2007, however, Toomey wasn’t such an advocate of “immediate disclosure”: After the FEC fined the Club for Growth for violating its prohibitions against organizations known as 527s — which the Club was — endorsing candidates, Toomey reorganized it as a 501(c)4. One advantage of this move, he told members, is that “your donations to the Club will not be disclosed to the public.” (The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 19, 2007.)


27 In 2004, Toomey was “thrilled” by Bush’s proposal to allow private Social Security accounts: “I have been arguing for many years in favor of Social Security personal retirement accounts.” He also praised this idea repeatedly in his book. On the campaign trail, however, Toomey said, “I never said I favor privatizing Social Security.” (, Aug. 13, 2010; The Road to Prosperity, pp. 140-145;, Aug. 24, 2010.)

28 Toomey argues that future retirees with private accounts “really don’t have to worry about a fluctuation in the stock market” because, in the long run, they’ll end up in the black. In fact, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, an individual who retired after 35 years of work in 2008 “would have seen a slight negative return on their portfolio.” Moreover, research looking at stock markets in the world’s 15 largest economies indicates that “an all-stock portfolio and typical stock market returns would have negative returns 33 percent of the time.” (Scranton Times-Tribune, Oct. 8, 2010; Center for American Progress Action Fund, October 2008.)

29 Toomey claims that there is an “inextricable connection between tax cuts and economic growth.” He’s incorrect, particularly when it comes to tax cuts for the richest Americans: The post-recession booms of the mid-1980s and ’90s both followed increases in the top marginal tax rates in 1982 and 1993. Between 1951 and 1980, the economy averaged annual growth of 3.7 percent, though top marginal tax rates were between 70 percent and 92 percent. Between 1980 and 2008, when top rates were between 35 percent and about 39 percent, the economy averaged only 3 percent annual growth. (Statement of Pat Toomey to the House Budget Committee, July 25, 2007;, Aug. 2, 2010.)

30 At a recent campaign event, Toomey was asked about the fact that, after the Bush tax cuts, real income for most Americans dropped. Toomey “[said] he did not believe the data.” According to tax expert David Cay Johnston, “Even if we limit the analysis by starting in 2003, when the dividend and capital gains tax cuts began, through the peak year of 2007, the result is still less income than at the 2000 level. Total income was down $951 billion during those four years. Average taxpayer income was down $3,512, or 5.7 percent, in 2008 compared with 2000.” (The New York Times, Oct. 10, 2010;, Sept. 24, 2010.)

31 Toomey contends that the New Deal amounted to a “war on job-creating businesses” in which President Roosevelt “imposed countless exorbitant regulations, launched massive new spending programs that deprived the private sector of resources, and foisted his own tax hike on productive Americans.” Between 1933 and 1937, the GDP grew by more than 50 percent. During this same time period, unemployment peaked in 1933 at 24.9 percent, but by 1937 had fallen to 14.3 percent. (After a wave of austerity-driven spending cuts in 1937, the economy shrank and unemployment grew in 1938, back up to 19 percent.) (The Road to Prosperity, p. 36;;, Sept. 7, 2010; The New York Times, Nov. 10, 2008;

32 A week before Barack Obama’s election, Toomey blamed him for the collapsing stock market, because Obama “may not only win the presidency but may also gain sufficient Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress to hammer through his radical economic agenda. This agenda includes tax increases, protectionism, massive new spending programs, empowered labor unions, and crippling government regulations.” These things, in Toomey’s view, prolonged the Great Depression, and “the stock market has learned a thing or two from history’s mistakes.” As of this writing, the Dow is over 11,100 points; the day Obama was sworn in, it was at 7,949.09. (National Review Online, Oct. 30, 2008;, Nov. 4, 2008; Huffington Post, March 26, 2009.)

33 Toomey thinks “we’d have been better off” if the government had let the banking and automobile industries collapse and gone without the stimulus: “Sometimes you need that cleansing to really recover.” The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, in the second quarter of 2010, the stimulus increased the GDP by as much as 4.5 percent and added as many as 4.8 million full-time jobs. Last December, the Troubled Asset Relief Fund’s Congressional Oversight Panel issued its evaluation of the banking bailout: “There is broad consensus that the TARP was an important part of a broader government strategy that stabilized the U.S. financial system .” (Morning Joe, MSNBC, April 1, 2010; Congressional Budget Office Director’s Blog, Aug. 24, 2010; Congressional Oversight Panel, Dec. 9, 2009.)

34 Toomey, a born-again anti-earmark crusader, won at least $12 million in pork during his first term in Congress before disavowing earmarks, including $3 million for Air Products & Chemicals Inc., an Allentown company that became his largest source of campaign funds. (The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 8, 2010; The Allentown Morning Call, Sept. 11, 2010.)

35 Throughout this year’s campaign, Toomey has highlighted the fact that he owned a small chain of restaurants in the 1990s, in contrast to Sestak, who, as Toomey communications director Nachama Soloveichik has said, “never spent a day in the private sector.” (Sestak served in the U.S. Navy for 31 years.) “I was very actively involved in this business,” Toomey said in a recent debate. In 2004, however, Toomey sang a different tune: After Arlen Specter’s campaign made note of a series of incidents related to Toomey’s restaurants, including a fatal car crash by a patron in 1993, Toomey claimed he had little to do with the restaurants’ day-to-day operations. In fact, in a deposition in 2000, Toomey said that it would be “fair” to call him a “hands-off owner.” (, July 6, 2010;, Oct. 20, 2010; Deposition of Patrick J. Toomey, Michael Serbia v. Rockin’ Robin’s Inc., p. 24, Aug. 22, 2000.)

36 Toomey is an anthropogenic climate-change denier, and an opponent of steps to curb greenhouse gas emissions: “There is much debate in the scientific community as to the precise sources of global warming.” The American Chemistry Society — and every other reputable scientific organization — begs to differ: “Careful and comprehensive scientific assessments have clearly demonstrated that the Earth’s climate system is changing rapidly in response to growing atmospheric burdens of greenhouse gases and absorbing aerosol particles.” It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that Toomey’s top contributors include oil and gas giants Koch Industries and Murray Energy, which have given him $15,000 and $16,655, respectively. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 14, 2010; American Chemistry Society position statement; Huffington Post, Oct. 14, 2010.)


37 In 2001, Toomey voted against both increased fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks and incentives for the development of alternative fuel vehicles. In 2003, he voted for the Dick Cheney-designed energy bill, which included more than $14 billion in tax breaks for oil, gas and coal companies. (

38 Toomey is “skeptical” of the expansion of federal oversight of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale; he’s not skeptical of oil and gas drilling, however: He not only supports increased drilling both in the ocean and in sensitive wildlife areas, but also wants to open up Lake Erie to oil and gas drilling. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 14, 2010;

39 The day after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, Halliburton, a company involved in that oil rig, cut Toomey a check for $2,500. He accepted it. (, June 10, 2010.)

40 In August, the League of Conservation Voters named Toomey to its 2010 Dirty Dozen list, citing his “extreme views on energy policy” and his “abysmal” 11 percent lifetime LCV environmental score. (League of Conservation Voters press release, Aug. 23, 2010.)


41 Though he has downplayed social issues during this campaign, Toomey — who has insisted that Club for Growth’s campaigns against moderates were motivated by economics — told a Lancaster Christian group in 2007, “It’s all about protecting our Christian heritage. And, a culture that is under assault.” (, July 17, 2007; The Providence Journal, Sept. 5, 2006.)

42 Toomey wants to funnel tax dollars to religious schools. Toomey voted in favor of vouchers, including those for parochial schools, while in Congress. (The Road to Prosperity, p. 166; Americans for Democratic Action 2001 Scorecard.)

43 Toomey has a perfect lifetime rating from the Christian Coalition, meaning he always votes the way the Pat Robertson-founded group thinks he should. He also received perfect and near-perfect scores from the rabidly anti-gay Family Research Council — a group co-founded by evangelist James Dobson (see No. 57) and George Rekers, the psychiatrist who recently took a European vacation with a gay prostitute he found on the website — which is, in fundraising letters, warning supporters that the “homosexual left” is waging a “war on your faith and on marriage.” (;, May 5, 2010; Miami New-Times, May 6, 2010; Fundraising letter from the Family Research Council, November 2009.)

44 Toomey voted for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and even to ban Washington, D.C., from allowing gays and lesbians to adopt children. (

45 Toomey opposes the federal hate crime law that Congress passed last year to more severely punish crimes motivated by bigotry; in 2004, at a press conference with Judge Robert Bork (see No. 61), Bork called hate crimes laws “a discriminatory law enforcement device,” and Toomey agreed. Toomey also voted against hate crimes legislation in Congress. (, Sept. 13, 2010; Americans for Democratic Action 2000 Scorecard.)

46 Toomey supported a bill that would have prohibited the use of local or federal funds to extend city employees’ health insurance to unmarried domestic partners. (Americans for Democratic Action 2001 Scorecard.)

47 Toomey voted to allow individuals to use their religion to legally justify discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment. (Americans for Democratic Action 1999 Scorecard.)

48 Toomey opposed even allowing residents of Washington, D.C., to vote on allowing medical marijuana use. (

49 Toomey, who consistently received low marks from abortion rights groups, wants to not only ban abortion, but also prosecute doctors who perform them: “I think that Roe v. Wade was wrongly defined, wrongly decided and I think states should be free to restrict abortion and I would support legislation in Pennsylvania that would ban abortion and I would suggest that we have penalties for doctors who perform them if we were able to pass that law.” (, Aug. 5, 2009;

50 Toomey voted against allowing an adult sibling, grandparent or spiritual leader from transporting a minor across state lines to avert abortion-related parental consent laws, even in cases in which girls might be subject to physical abuse because of their pregnancy or they were the victims of incest. (Americans for Democratic Action Scorecard 1999.)

51 In 1999, Toomey, who earned an A rating from the National Rifle Association, voted against requiring background checks at large gun shows, and for reducing the waiting period for guns purchased at gun shows from three days to one. (Americans for Democratic Action 1999 Scorecard;


52 After the GOP lost the Senate in 2006, Sen. John McCain blamed Club for Growth’s quest for ideological purity: “The reason why we don’t have a majority in the Senate today is because of the attacks Club for Growth made on Lincoln Chafee, the senator for Rhode Island. They have continuously attacked Republicans they don’t agree with.” (, March 19, 2007.)

53 According to Roll Call, after Toomey’s insurgency forced Arlen Specter from the GOP, many of Specter’s colleagues argued that Club for Growth’s tactics “are increasingly corrosive to the party’s overall health and well being.” Said Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette: “They are disgusting.” (, April 30, 2009.)

54 As Toomey stepped down from Club for Growth to run for Senate, David Jenkins, vice president for government and political affairs for Republicans for Environmental Protection, wrote: “While the media often refers to the Club for Growth as a ‘taxpayer advocacy organization,’ its agenda extends far beyond fiscal discipline and lower taxes. [T]he Club will attack Republicans as [Republicans in name only] for a myriad of supposed ‘offenses,’ including efforts to protect the environment and reduce our nation’s risky dependence on fossil fuels.” (, April 21, 2009.)

55 After Toomey’s Club for Growth attacked GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee because, as governor of Arkansas, he raised some taxes, Huckabee told The New Yorker, “The Club for Greed, I call them. I think they’re a despicable political hit organization that takes people’s money and anonymously attacks candidates. I just think it’s cowardly.” (The New Yorker, Dec. 3, 2007.)


56 Toomey is a close ally of Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann, whom Club for Growth honored in 2009 with its Defender of Economic Freedom award. This year, Toomey is a member of the “Bachmann 5,” a group of “constitutional conservatives” Bachmann’s PAC is supporting; the others are Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio. In recent years, Bachmann has postulated that Obama is seeking “re-education camps for young people,” said that greenhouse gases aren’t dangerous because carbon dioxide is “a natural byproduct of nature” and sought an investigation to determine if members of Congress are “pro-American or anti-American.” A recent hometown editorial lambasted her “rash, ridiculous, unsubstantiated, misleading and fear-mongering statements about national issues.” (Michele Bachmann press release, May 16, 2008; Huffington Post, April 6, 2009;, April 25, 2009; Huffington Post, Oct. 17, 2008;; St. Cloud Times, Oct. 17, 2010.)

57 In 2004, Toomey proudly touted the endorsement of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, who spoke at rallies on Toomey’s behalf. Dobson, a fundamentalist anti-gay and anti-abortion rights activist who, in the 1960s, opposed the Civil Rights Act and supported segregationists, believes government should be run according to Christian principles — including, it seems, corporal punishment for pets. In one of his books, Dobson recounts the occasion he beat his family’s 12-pound dog with a belt: “I had seen this defiant mood before, and knew there was only one way to deal with it. The ONLY [sic] way to make Siggie obey is to threaten him with destruction. Nothing else works. I turned and went to my closet and got a small belt to help me ‘reason’ with [Siggie]. That tiny dog and I had the most vicious fight ever staged between man and beast. I fought him up one wall and down the other, with both of us scratching and clawing and growling and swinging the belt.” (Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, April 11, 2004; Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington complaint against Focus on the Family, Nov. 28, 2005; Southern Poverty Law Center, Spring 2005; Huffington Post, Oct. 12, 2005.)

58 In 2008, Toomey threatened that his Club for Growth “might sit out” the presidential election unless McCain picked an acceptably conservative running mate. Among his suggestions: former Sen. Phil Gramm, who weeks later would dismiss the economic crisis as a “mental recession” and call us a “nation of whiners,” billionaire flat-tax enthusiast Steve Forbes and South Carolina Tea Party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint, whom a Charleston Post and Courier columnist has labeled “the mayor of Crazyville.”(The Hotline, June 18, 2008; Huffington Post, July 10, 2008; Charleston Post and Courier, Sept. 22, 2010.)

59 In 2008, Toomey also called DeMint “exactly the kind of leader the GOP could use at this low point in its history.” DeMint has a history of staking out radical positions: He famously declared that health care reform would be Obama’s “Waterloo,” and proclaimed that, if Republicans could stop his legislation, “It will break him.” In 2004 and again earlier this month, DeMint has argued that “someone who is openly homosexual” and “an unmarried woman who’s sleeping with her boyfriend shouldn’t be in a classroom,” as he told a church group. Toomey did not respond to City Paper‘s query about whether he agrees with DeMint’s stance on gay and unwed teachers. (, Nov. 24, 2008;, July 17, 2009; Huffington Post, Oct. 2, 2010;, Oct. 5, 2010.)

60 The day McCain selected Sarah Palin as his VP nominee, Toomey gushed that she was a “principled reformer.” In 2007, Toomey called her “a spectacular governor,” and touted her as a potential challenger to then-Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska. Palin’s PAC has given Toomey’s campaign $5,000. Toomey is one of only a handful of Senate candidates she’s financially supporting this year; the others include O’Donnell, Paul and Joe Miller, an Alaskan who believes that Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional. Despite that support, at a recent debate, Toomey dodged the question of whether he thought Palin was qualified to be president. (Club for Growth press release, Aug. 29, 2008;, Sept. 27, 2007;, Oct. 12, 2010; Hardball, MSNBC, Oct. 21, 2010.)

61 In his 2004 Senate bid, Toomey touted the endorsement of Judge Robert Bork, who was denied a seat on the Supreme Court in 1987 because of his far-right positions: In the 1960s, he inveighed against the “unsurpassed ugliness” of civil rights laws forcing property owners to not discriminate (a position he later renounced). Bork has also opposed Court intervention to block Southern states from enacting poll taxes to keep blacks from voting, rulings that created the right to privacy that led to legal contraceptives and abortion and the Court-mandated principle of “one person, one vote.” (Chicago Reader, Aug. 13, 1987;, May 21, 2010.)


62 According to an analysis of Toomey’s DW-Nominate scores in Congress — DW-Nominate scores assess a lawmaker’s liberalism or conservatism — Toomey is further right than 98 percent of all House or Senate members since 1995. Were he to win, he’d be the second-most right-wing senator, after Tom Coburn. His lifetime score, .718 (DW-Nominate scores run between -1 and 1, from liberal to conservative), is considerably more conservative than former Sen. Rick Santorum’s (.349). He’s also to the right of South Carolina Sen. (and Tea Party favorite) Jim DeMint (.670) and Jesse Helms (.692). (, May 11, 2010.)

63 According to Pennsylvania political guru G. Terry Madonna and strategist Michael L. Young: “If [Toomey] is elected, he will arguably be the most conservative U.S. senator Pennsylvania has elected since before the New Deal days.” (Scranton Times-Tribune, Sept. 19, 2010.)

64 In April 2009, William Parker, founder and former president of the Pennsylvania Club for Growth, wrote a letter to Republicans on Specter’s behalf, arguing, “Pat can’t win the general election — here’s why. His lifetime American Conservative Union record of 97 [percent] puts him farther to the right than Rick Santorum’s 88 percent lifetime rating.” (Letter from William Parker, April 21, 2009.)

65 In 2004, Santorum — who famously compared gay sex to “man on child, man on dog” relations — said Toomey is “too conservative for Pennsylvania.” (American Spectator, April 21, 2004; Associated Press, April 23, 2003.)

66 After Specter’s defection, even conservatives believed Toomey too extreme to win: “I don’t think there is anybody in the world who believes he can get elected senator there,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. At press time, polls showed the race between Toomey and Sestak too close to call, and indeed, Pennsylvania may yet prove Hatch wrong. To borrow from David Bossie, the leader of Citizens United, that’s “unbelievable.” (, April 29, 2009.)

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